Bust, Lock, Wildcard, Sleeper: Peeling Back The NBA Draft Onion
Every draft has them. The complete bust alas Anthony Bennett. The mortal lock: Lebron James. The sleeper that explodes onto the scene making teams that passed on them begging to run it back; for example, Steph Curry who slightly slipped due to his size, lack of explosiveness and athleticism but those obviously didn’t matter cause that man is lethal from 3. Then there’s the complete wildcard. Scouts don’t know what to make of them either because of their competition, previous injuries or relative anonymity; think of them as boom or bust prospects (Giannis Antetokounmpo). Who from this years’ class profiles into these categories? I am so pumped you asked, but full disclaimer this years’ crop has largely been considered a weak draft so in the event I get these correct I’d like to submit this blog as my formal resume when applying for the Knicks front office vacancy that will surely be open in the next 3 years.
Bust: Lets just jump right in. Dubbing a kid a bust already (obviously is premature) but there are busts in every draft, this years bust 100% will be Cole Anthony. All of the optics to his profile don’t look promising. North Carolina had a top 10 class coming and just had a laugher of a year, those rarely EVER happen under Roy Williams. The team completely lacked on-court chemistry and a lot of it is due to the ball dominating nature of Anthonys game. Is it fair for him to shoulder the entire blame? No. But he had Austin Rivers hype coming out of high school and it felt like he failed to deliver. Digging into some of the deeper stats, he’s a laughably bad defender and is actually a below average transition player per analytics site synergy sports. He also rated #96 in kenpoms overall offensive rating, which if were talking about a lottery pick – is worrisome.
Lock: Like I said it’s a weak draft class and this may even be a fraudulent lock so if you want to call me out on it than fine, I can take the heat. Obi Toppin IMO is the safest pick to be a lock. He’s polished and crushed the measurables. He’s been comped to Shawn Marion and Kenyon Martin which I think are spot on, he completely blew up this year in college basketball putting Dayton on the map. His floor is low and his ceiling is high, he’s going to be as consistent as any guy on the board. Just look at his highlight package without drooling.. you can't.
Wildcard: James Wiseman. The #1 overall recruit coming out of high school, only played 3 total games for Memphis this year due to being ruled ineligible by the NCAA (Mark Emmert - otherwise known as Michael Jacksons doppleganger - can’t get out of his own way). He has a 7’5 inch wing span and a 7’1 frame but where does he fit positionally in the NBA? Jonathan Givony still has him mocked going 2 overall to the Cavaliers, which may be a good landing spot since there’s a young core and he won’t be asked to do too much.
Sleeper: Projected to go in the late teens, early 20s’: Saddiq Bey. His game fits perfectly with the current style of play in the NBA, profiles immediately as a nice 3 and D guy who shot 45% from long range this year in college. The analytics love him on both sides of the court, and so do I. He’s going to be sneaky good and all you armchair GMs should be paying attention. So smooth.
I can’t wait to look back in 5 years to see that I’ve completely botched this. That would shock – not one person.